There was just the one change to the City squad for this penultimate Vanarama Conference home game against FC Halifax Town at Sincil Bank Stadium with Delano Sam-Yorke replacing John Marsden on the bench. Sam-Yorke was back in the fold having been forced to sit out four games through suspension.
Bright Bank Holiday Monday sunshine greeted the two teams as referee Dean Treleavan led them out of the tunnel and once the respective captains had exchanged pleasantries, City kicked off attacking the Bridge McFarland Stand.
After a quiet opening it was the visitors who carved out the first attempt at goal with Paul Farman getting down well to claim a low Will Hatfield drive in the eighth minute.
City responded well though and four minutes later a long Tom Miller throw into the box was met by the towering HAMZA BENCHERIF who headed powerfully past Matt Glennon to give the Imps an early advantage.
Another Miller throw was headed goalwards by Jordan Burrow as City pressed for a quick second but Glennon tipped over and Jordan Cranston's corner was hurriedly cleared by the Town defence.
At the other end a surging run forward from Jack Muldoon saw him shake off a number of challenged before Farman pulled off an impressive save to keep him out. Miller required treatment before play resumed.
As the half approached its midway point a Cranston cross was flicked on by Burrow but the ball hit Marc Roberts before going behind for a corner which was taken deep by Power for Miller who was denied at the near post.
Referee Treleavan spoke to Jordan Keane and Lois Maynard after the former was penalised for a foul on the latter before City forced another corner. Nothing came though and the Shaymen responded by forcing a corner of their own in the 33rd minute but skipper Alan Power was back to head clear.
In the 37th minute Farman palmed away a low Hatfield drive before the loose ball was blazed well over by Muldoon from six yards out, although credit goes to Jake Caprice for putting the Town man under pressure when it mattered.
Four minutes later Cranston got a challenge in on James Bolton who sees his low effort fly wide. City's response saw Power force a corner but after this was dealt with, the game spring to life again in the 45th minute when Miller got a strong challenge in on Maynard in front of travelling fans.
Miller appeared to win the ball but referee Treleavan deemed otherwise and booked the City defender before Maynard returned to the fray following attention. The half ended after three additional minutes of play.
HT: IMPS 1 HALIFAX 0
Both teams emerged unchanged for the start of the second half and City were out of the traps quickest, immediately putting the Town defence on the back foot with a Cranston cross almost catching out Glennon but the ball bounced just wide.
Skipper Power picked up a 52nd minute caution for a mistimed tackle on Muldoon whilst teammate Kieran Wallace joined him four minutes later, again for a foul on Muldoon.
Halifax made the first switch with Jamie Jackson replacing James Bolton on the hour mark whilst a minute later Cranston became the third Imp booked for an offence on Muldoon. The resultant free-kick was easily held by Farman.
In the 65th minute Jon Nolan for Kegan Everington was City's first change whilst four minutes later a Halifax corner ended with Jackson hitting the base of the post from close range.
City's response to this scare was immediate and when a sweeping City move saw Tomlinson and Nolan combine the latter's shot deflected to Power who fired over with the goal at his mercy.
Scott Boden was then replaced by Danny Hattersley for Halifax before Caprice went in hard on Scott McManus. Town players were quick to put referee Treleavan under pressure and out came a yellow card to the City defender.
Shortly afterwards Tomlinson was bundled over by Maynard who picked up Halifax's first caution before a succession of stoppages gave neither side the chance to piece together any move of note.
Graham Hutchison picked up an 81st minute booking for tug on Tomlinson's shirt and a minute later a great reaction save from Farman saw him deny Maynard at point-blank range. At the other end a rasping volley from Burrow was tipped behind by Glennon but nothing came from the resultant corner.
In the closing stages of normal time Halifax drew level when Maynard let fly from range and thanks to a big deflection his effort looped past Farman and into the net.
Ninety seconds into four added minutes saw Delano Sam-Yorke replace Tomlinson before Wallace had an effort tipped over by Glennon. After Halifax cleared their lines, a swift attack was brought to a halt when Cranston upended Muldoon and via the support of his assistant, referee Treleavan dished out a second yellow and then a red to the loanee left-back.
FT: IMPS 1 HALIFAX 1
6 Tony DIAGNE
14 Jon NOLAN (for EVERINGTON 65)
15 Delano SAM-YORKE (for TOMLINSON (90+2)
19 Alex SIMMONS
30 Aidan GRANT
GOAL: BENCHERIF (12)
BOOKINGS: MILLER (45), POWER (52), WALLAVE (56), CRANSTON (61), CAPRICE (73)
SENDING OFF: CRANSTON (90+3)